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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

The House at the End of Hope Street

The House at the End of Hope Street - Menna van Praag

I think my first experience reading about a house that was 'alive' might have been A Discovery of Witches; it was the first one to make an impression, anyway, and I was thoroughly charmed by the idea.  The House at the End of Hope Street makes the house a central character, and I just ate it up.  I love the house and Mog.


Alba is a child prodigy working on her PhD in modern history at Cambridge, at the age of 19, when personal disaster strikes and with no where to go, she finds herself at 11 Hope Street, being welcomed in by Peggy, the mistress of the house.  As Peggy and the house welcome her, she's told she can stay for 99 nights, no strings attached, so that she might find her way again.  Also staying in the house are Greer, an actress looking at the end of her career, and Carmen, directionless, broken and needing to hide from the world.


I think I liked this book better than The Dress Shop of Dreams by just a smidgen; the characters felt more tightly tied to the plot and their stories felt stronger.  Alba is a bit too preciously fragile at the beginning but the author does such a good job of weaving her storyline that I bought it; I never wanted to smack her or shake her.  Van Praag managed to get me with a twist in Alba's story, but that's probably got as much to do with my own special brand of obliviousness as it does with her writing talent (all due respect).


If magical realism appeals, I'd definitely recommend giving this book a go; it's not perfect, but it's really good.